Polebridge, MT and Lake Kintla in Glacier National Park

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We arrived in Glacier on an overcast Sunday afternoon. We walked around Lake Kintla and explored the booming metropolis that is Polebridge, MT.

Getting to Glacier

Before I left, I knew that Glacier National Park is remote, but I wasn’t prepared for just how remote. To drive from Helena takes about 4 hours, most of it spent on two lane highways. Every town we passed was a highway town, centered around a gas station which doubled as a grocery store or restaurant. They charged $6 for a bottle of ranch dressing.

After the first hour, none of our phones worked. My phone never works in Montana because I have T-Mobile, but my family on Verizon was also cut off. We were truly in the wilderness. 

For the last half hour of the drive, we left the paved road and drove up a rough gravel road It snaked around curves and occasionally bumped up against a river. In any  It all would have been very romantic had we not been in a 15-year-old minivan that damn near shook our teeth out. 

The Cabin

Eventually, we arrived at the cabin.

Cabin at Glacier National Park

We stayed at a placed called A Little Piece of Heaven. Because of its location, rentals are only available from June to October. After that, the road isn’t passable because of snow and weather.

On the premise, there are four small cabins for families or couples that want to get away from it all. On the highest point sits the large main cabin where the host lives. 

Cabin at Glacier National Park

The front patio overlooks Glacier National Park. I got a few different variants of this panorama, one early in the morning, one at night. But for now, behold this panorama (click on it for a larger image):

Glacier National Park Montana
Click to expand

Usually, the park isn’t that hazy. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2017, there were some pretty awful wildfires. Smoke filled the sky to where it looked foggy some days. On our way home from Glacier, you couldn’t see the mountains because the smoke was so bad. I’d really like to go back someday when there isn’t the haze lingering in the air.

Anyway, the owner of the cabins fed the deer so they were very people friendly. I was able to get some close-up shots like this one:

Deer at Glacier National Park

Lake Kintla in Glacier National Park

We entered the park on the west side. Our initial plan was to go to Bowman Lake and do a hike there since it was close and a great way to spend half a day. As we entered the park, the park ranger informed us that parking at Bowman was full, but we were welcome to try Lake Kintla about 7 miles up the road. 

Driving in the park isn’t bad. If I had a recommendation, I’d say to make sure that you have a car with some ground clearance and only go as fast as you feel comfortable. I grew up driving on gravel roads, so I had a hayday. I even jokingly referred to this as the Glacier National Park Rally.

When we reached a clearing, we took these pictures of the northwest side of the park. 

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park


We found parking at Lake Kintla and immediately were greeted with this view:

Lake Kintla - Glacier National Park Montana

Lake Kintla - Glacier National Park Montana

Lake Kintla - Glacier National Park Montana

I had to color correct these photos to account for the smoke that was in the air, but the views were still amazing. 

We chose a trail that went along the edge of Lake Kintla but was something like 16 miles long. Since we didn’t have enough time to go all the way, we only went halfway down then half way back. We still saw some great views, though. 

Lake Kintla in Glacier National Park

Before heading back to the cabin, we stopped off in the town of Polebridge, MT. The mercantile is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also famed for its Huckleberry Bear Claws that are supposedly very good. 

Polebridge Mercantile, Montana

Polebridge, Montana

After all of this, we headed back to the cabin. We wanted to be rested as tomorrow, we’d be walking Logan Pass.

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